The Nebraska National Guard Museum received the lead gift from the Duane and Phyllis Acklie family to build the “I Am the Guard” Room and Exhibit. The intent of the room is to “honor the courage and legacy of the men and women of the Nebraska National Guard who have served the state and nation since its founding in 1854” said Holly Ostergard, daughter of Phyllis Acklie and the late Duane Acklie.She went on to say “We are so proud to sponsor the exhibit. The Duane and Phyllis Acklie family and Crete Carrier Corporation are committed to supporting our military and honoring the service of all veterans. The family is proud to help preserve the stories of the brave men and women of the Nebraska National Guard for future generations. This room will be a unique interactive experience that is one of a kind in the National Guard Museum system. We look forward to seeing it in operation.”
The “I Am the Guard” Room was designed to give the patron an experience of joining the Nebraska National Guard and attending training and seeing artifacts and images from service members’ experiences over the years. ” The room is being built and tested currently and will be unveiled at the annual July 4th dedication at the Museum at 9:00am.
The first thing patrons will see upon entering the room is a 84” vertical screen with a movie of a Nebraska National Guard drill instructor telling them to get out of the theater and assemble in an orderly fashion in the room. The front of the room is designed to tell the story of how our recruiters bring in members, how they go through physicals, to taking the “oath of enlistment” to attending initial “basic” training for the Army and Air Force. The whole room is wrapped in images supplied by the Nebraska National Guard and installed by Revolution Wraps in Lincoln. The artifacts and displays around the room were designed by Hartman Historical Services in Omaha. The interactive screen technology was designed by Nano-Nation in Lincoln.
Once a patron is “in” the military, they can make a choice of Army or Air Force to see what each branch has to offer. Screens in the center of the room highlight the many different skill sets that are performed in each branch. This also allows the recruiters to show what skills are needed today. On each side of the screens are rank and badges that are unique to the branches. Just beyond these screens is a monitor that is called the “20 Year Project”. This display features service members that are currently in the Nebraska National Guard and they have been tracked over the years and will show patrons what its’ like to serve today.
The grand finale to the room is three large screens that are entitled “Honoring Our Past to Inspire the Future” and it features some of our prominent veterans of the Nebraska National Guard. Patrons can stand before images and press the screen to hear interviews and learn about citizens who have served in the National Guard. One of the highlights will be the story of Omaha’s Warren Buffett who served as a finance clerk in a headquarters unit from 1951-1956 and he relates some great stories of serving. Another image will be of Andrew Jackson Higgins of Columbus who served in the Millard Rifles. He went on to fame building landing craft in New Orleans and Eisenhower credited him with playing a major role in defeating the Axis in World War II. Another image will be of General John Campbell one of the founding members of the Nebraska Air National Guard in 1946 and the first member of the organization to make flag officer rank. There are many more images and stories on the wall for patrons to learn about in addition to “Did you know…” questions that offer an interactive experience.
The “I Am the Guard” Room experience is the only one of its kind in the National Guard Museum system.